3rd April, 2020

Ofqual Statement on GCSE Grades

This is a one page summary of the guidance released by Ofqual today regarding GCSE Exams 2020.  Please read the full document at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

GCSE exams will not take place this year.  There are two key elements to Ofqual’s strategy to overcome this:

  • Centre assessed grades (predictions)
  • A rank order of students within each grade for every subject

Centre Assessed Grades: must reflect a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of the most likely grade a student would have achieved if they had sat their exams this summer and completed any non-exam assessment.   In coming to this holistic judgement, centres should assume that it is no easier or harder for a student to achieve a particular grade this year, compared to previous years.

  • Teachers should draw on existing records and available evidence (as far as possible in the context of current public health advice)
  • records of each student’s performance over the course of study, including for example progress review data, classwork, bookwork, and/or participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama and PE
  • performance on any class or homework assessments and mock exams taken over the course of study
  • any other relevant information

There is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade

There will be no requirement to send any supporting evidence, such as student work, to the exam boards

A rank order of students… For example, if you have 15 students for GCSE maths for whom you have given a centre assessment grade of 5, you should then rank them from 1 to 15, where 1 is the most secure/highest attaining, 2 is the next most secure and so on.

Statistical Standardisation: So that the final grades awarded are as fair as possible, exam boards will standardise the judgements across different centres once they have been submitted, using a statistical methodology developed in conjunction with Ofqual.

If, when compared to the evidence above, judgements are more generous than would be expected, then the final grades for some or all of our students will be adjusted down. On the other hand, if it appears that your judgements are more severe, then the final grades for some or all of our students will be adjusted up.

Year 10 – We propose that exam boards should not issue grades to year 10 students.  As a result we will not be entering Year 10 for GCSE RE

Centres must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued.

APPEALS: Although still under consultation the guidance currently states…Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.

What does this mean for our students?

These are unprecedented times and while this guidance from Ofqual attempts to do what is morally right, in a way that is fair and ethical for all students in the country, it unfortunately will never replace the accuracy of the ‘real thing’.

With this in mind I wanted to reassure parents that we will be doing all we can in the coming weeks to ensure that our centre assessed grades are as accurate as possible.  We will be following the government guidance robustly and using our professionalism to make the most accurate prediction of what a student would have achieved.

We see many examples each year where students really rise to the challenge in the final term.  I wanted to reassure parents that we take these things into consideration when we make our predictions.  Last year our predictions were extremely accurate as a result of the strategies and assessments we have put in place and I do not expect that to change this year.  We will not simply be basing a prediction on a Mock result but will assess the performance of the ‘whole child’ in line with the government guidance that has been issued.  We have seen a phenomenal effort from our Year 11 students this year.  They were well placed to surpass last year’s record breaking results and I was extremely confident they would do this by some distance this year!

We are a school that has made rapid improvement and based on the quality assurance systems we have in school there is nothing to suggest that this rapid improvement would not have continued this year.

Unfortunately, we cannot release our predictions to you.  OfQUAL need to add a layer of statistical standardisation to ensure there is consistency and fairness when allocating students’ grades across the country.  This means the grade we have predicted may not be the grade your child receives.  While, this may be worrying it is exactly the same for every student in the country.  The standardisation process is not something we can control, but as I eluded to before our assessment and prediction systems are accurate and robust.

You will only be able to access your child’s GCSE results later in the summer term and hopefully within enough time so they can move seamlessly into further education, training or employment.

There is an appeals process which is being developed which will allow those students who feel their centre assessed grade was not a true reflection of what they could do to re-sit the exam if they want to.  Please read the government guidance for more details on this.


As a result of this announcement we have made the decision not to continue with the remote learning strategy for YEAR 11 students.  Instead we have created a “Life after Little Lever’ section on our website.  This includes preparation for further education, reading lists for ‘A’ level courses and we will be publishing some ‘A’ level Taster Tasks after Easter for those Year 11 students who wish to study at ‘A’ Level.  There are some useful resources on CV writing, interview techniques and details from colleges and Connexions on how they will support our Year 11 students! 

Life After Little Lever page

Finally, I just wanted to re-iterate that we are doing all we can to do what is best for all our students in these challenging times!  Our sole purpose is to help every student achieve things they never thought they could and even though our Year 11 students may not have had an opportunity to prove this through their GCSE exams these unfortunate events should never stop them from continuing to do this!

We will continue to communicate with you to keep you up to date with what is happening.

Take care, stay safe

Mr Mckeon

Letter to Students from Ofqual

GCSE Grades